10401436_10153066297053798_1624481439957468610_nCarson Calderwood is an LDS dentist and father of four living in Maple Valley, Washington.  He served an LDS mission in Argentina, married his wife, Marisa, in an LDS temple, recently served as an LDS seminary teacher in Maple valley for two years, and served faithfully in the LDS church for almost two decades.  After experiencing significant questions and doubts a few years go, Carson realized how many local LDS church members were struggling over matters of faith, and began trying to help local members of his ward and stake find joy and healing amidst their LDS faith crises.

After showing public support for Ordain Women, and after publicly expressing his doubts about several LDS church truth claims (e.g., polygamy, polyandry, Book of Mormon and Abraham historicity), Carson is now being charged with apostasy by the LDS Church, and by his Maple Valley, Washington stake president.  A disciplinary council for Carson is set to be scheduled within the next few days or weeks.

This is Carson’s story, wherein he explains why he objects to LDS disciplinary councils for apostasy, and why he would prefer to be excommunicated than to resign his LDS membership and walk away quietly.



  1. Tineke March 27, 2015 at 7:03 am - Reply

    How sad. Kudos to Carson and his family.

    • Truth Seeker April 27, 2015 at 9:44 am - Reply

      Honest seekers of truth are a rare breed, but more and more people are questioning and then leaving the church. If it brings one to the temporary path of doubt, pain, grief, or being excommunicated with the eventuality of experiencing sheer happiness and joy then it will be worth it. This is what I found when I left the church quietly. I saw no need to remove my name from the church records, or make public my questioning and disbelief because I knew in my heart, after researching and going within, that what they are about did not fit with my spirit, was not truth and I no longer considered myself a “member”. If more LDS people knew the truth about the churches involvement in MK Ultra, the Masons, Illuminati Bloodlines, Blood Atonement, etc, they would RUN from the church.
      Calderwoods, Take heart that you are on the right path of knowing the real “truth of all things.” My prayers are with you as you deal with what lies ahead.

    • Dr. Paul Martin April 27, 2015 at 11:12 am - Reply

      I stand in support of you, you will be in my prayers and thoughts, the LDS church is so cowardly that they don’t want anyopne to challenge its authority oir if they have handicaps or challenges of faith they are persecuted by the church, I know I was disfellowshipped and went through hell with the church for 7 years. Hang in there.

      Paul Martin
      Palm Bay 1st Ward
      The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints, Palm Bay Florida.

  2. Lightworker March 27, 2015 at 7:05 am - Reply

    Dear Calderwood family, You are not alone. God bless you all for taking a stand for the truth. Create another community in the absence of one. God & Jesus is on your side and by your courage others who know of your integrity will also step out in time. Grateful for leaving a cult whose operation/manipulation will become clear by the day. God Blesses.

  3. Kailey Steed March 27, 2015 at 8:55 am - Reply

    I resigned quietly, now I wish I had been more vocal.😔 I think some of us are social activists and others, like me, just give up. I applaud Kate Kelly, John Dehlin and Carson Calderwood for their courage!!! Your examples should be celebrated and shouted from the rooftops. You are not alone, we “see” you and send our love. Your integrity inspires me, and if there is a God, it would inspire it/her/him too. Thank you.

    • EDiL13 March 29, 2015 at 1:49 am - Reply

      Ditto to that…

      You guys almost make me wish that I’d had the nerve to stick it out until they excommunicated me, instead of resigning, even though I know that at the time, I did not have the emotional fortitude to do so.

      Thank you both (John and Carson), and others like you, for having the courage to do what you’re doing on behalf of the rest of us. As the saying goes, “It’s a dirty job, but somebody had to do it.”

    • Eugene Kovalenko April 19, 2015 at 10:58 am - Reply

      Well said, Kailey Steed. You’ve just now stepped up to the plate!

  4. Great Interview March 27, 2015 at 9:13 am - Reply

    Excellent interview. Short and to the point but also very informative.

    Carson, thanks for being willing to put yourself out here like this and for your thoughtful and respectful approach to things. It’s great to hear from just an average Church member about the pragmatic details of their lived experience in coming to terms with Mormonism and having it ultimately end with threat of a disciplinary council. I’ll be interested in hearing how it turns out.

    John, I’d love to see more interviews similar to this or even a series of short-format 30-45 minute interviews from “average” members that describe their individual faith journeys. Just a short bio on their lives in the Church and a quick covering of a few key reasons for their leaving the Church and key thoughts about those reasons. You could interview fully out couples, partially-believing couples, “mixed-faith” couples, people who have divorced over the issues (a huge problem for which the Church should be ashamed), etc.

    The point would be to make an episode fit within one or two commutes and allow listeners to connect personally with other “average” members. Seems to me that these “average” members have to be your fastest-growing listener demographic. I’m one of them (so perhaps the above is just confirmation bias?) and have to say that it was really great hearing from Carson in a short format since I felt like I could relate so much to everything he’s experienced as just a “regular, faithful member” who’s not a huge activist, etc.

    Anyway, excellent interview. Thanks again to you both.

    • Eugene Kovalenko April 19, 2015 at 11:05 am - Reply

      Excellent suggestion for John Dehlin. As a supporting member of MS podcast, I’d also like to see shorter versions of interviews. Perhaps there could be a second-order Reader’s Digest version of many old interviews that are still timely?

    • MeToo April 22, 2015 at 11:40 am - Reply

      I thought the same. Also I’d be interested in some anonymous interviews with maybe people who have left quietly, who feel they have to hide so really haven’t resigned or whatever but are thoroughly done but feel they are stuck. The couples who are divided on the issue and what they’re doing with that. Etc. I’d be interested to know how many people are out there like that. I am, and I know lately, figured I was alone, but now I’ve run into just tons more.

  5. Carson Calderwood March 27, 2015 at 9:24 am - Reply

    Thanks Tineke and Lightworker. I’ll try to followup here if anyone has questions for me.

    • Dallin March 27, 2015 at 10:34 pm - Reply

      Carson – From the photo of you and your family, it appears that you may have a child under the age of 8. If so, would you still baptize that child if you are excommunicated? (why or why not). Would your wife and other children resign or stay members for social reasons?

      • Carson Calderwood March 28, 2015 at 11:20 am - Reply

        Dallin, we have one that just turned 8 and yes, our youngest is 5. We let our 8 year old decide and although he saw his friends getting baptized he said that he didn’t want to. I think he felt like if he did he would have to attend. We’ve said they could do whatever they want and they have all chosen not to attend, mostly because it was boring. Our 13 year old had already developed some cognative dissonance and was glad to separate spiritually but he still attends scouts to be with his friends. So far, so good for about 8 months now.

    • Jason March 28, 2015 at 6:29 pm - Reply

      Carson, I very much appreciate your bravery in telling your story. Having been in a similar situation for many years, there is peace in hearing about fellow travelers. RM, temple marriage, 4 children, fellow doubter… I unfortunately have not been open about my feelings to fellow members. I don’t know if I can be as brave, at least not yet. I am very happy for you that your wife is with you on this path. Good luck with your disciplinary council.

    • Derek April 6, 2015 at 11:19 pm - Reply

      Hey mate,
      carson, just heard your interview. I was wondering if you would be able to email all the stuff you have doubts about and kinda tell me about them and explain them a bit, that would mean the world to me. Thanks heaps mate.

      • Carson Calderwood April 7, 2015 at 10:08 pm - Reply

        Derek, here is a link to my main questions, in 7 categories, with TONS of citations for proof that they are legitimate concerns


        I have literally 100’s of other things that to me prove the church is not what it says it is and needs to be seen at best as an inspired church with fallible leaders that occasionally do things incorrectly but that list is a good shortcut to a few primary sources on things that happened much differently than you learn about in Sunday School or seminary.

        • Trey April 27, 2015 at 1:52 pm - Reply

          I just wonder why the councils and possible excommunication is such a big deal to you? You clearly don’t believe in the main principle that the LDS church espouses. Why not leave and join a better church?

          • Carson April 27, 2015 at 5:58 pm

            Trey, its pretty simple. We are in a position to be a voice for all those people that can’t speak up about having doubts (for many reasons) or for those that are shamed into silence after speaking. I don’t care what happens to me so I can be their voice. I’m doing it for them, the people I don’t know but have doubts and don’t want to get excommunicated, etc. Their suffering moves me to action in their behalf.

    • Leo April 16, 2015 at 8:01 am - Reply

      This is my first time ever commenting on a post, but feel inspired by you. I have a crisis of faith in my life. Life time member Return missionary, temple marriage–many callings–3 kids. I have not outed my self–all my family is active.But , I believe more than people or institutions, I must be true to my Savior and following the spirit and it has guided to know not all I teach at church is true.Still trying to get a grip on it–just need to put it out of there, this is my first step.

      I have many historical and factual problems with the church today. But, my doubts started teaching with the missionaries as ward mission leader and deny baptism to an amazing person who just could not give up coffee.(and yes I understand the importance of obedience)but could not see Christ being on earth and deny someone to commit to him in the waters of baptism due to coffee–Mark 7:19-21.What enters the belly does not corrupt the heart. Ultimately, I want to follow Christ, and not deny him–but accepting falsehoods as given by Christ is to me Denying him. And I must stand alone before Gods judgement the church won’t be their. I love this church and has brought great joys in my life and plan on always attending, but do not believe.

      • Carson April 16, 2015 at 4:03 pm - Reply

        Leo, thanks for sharing. It’s inspiring to hear the stories back. Find that balance between authenticity and too much push back.

  6. Meg March 27, 2015 at 9:35 am - Reply

    Fabulous. I so wish EVERYONE could hear this. We need to change the practice of disciplinary councils and the current fear culture. We have to allow people to be human. (No man has authority to sever our relationship with God so there’s no fear there.)

    • Eugene Kovalenko April 19, 2015 at 11:15 am - Reply

      Whole-heartedly agree with you, Meg. “Disciplinary” councils must become “Discussion Councils”, else this male-dominated institution will continue to implode until it is simply irrelevant.

      • Dallas Jolley April 22, 2015 at 2:24 pm - Reply

        I wonder, if any of you had to answer the temple recommend interview questions, minus the one asking whether you support anti-Mormon groups, could you answer yes to the other questions? Which ones would you exclude as unimportant as to your salvation? Just curious.

        • Eugene Kovalenko April 23, 2015 at 3:13 pm - Reply

          Dallas, when Clifton Jolley (your kin?) chaired my 2012 Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium paper, he referred for the record to his mission among the Chippewa Indians and called me “…the craziest man I know…”, which I took as a compliment.

          In my paper I refer to a dream I had in August 2010 where I have come to see the bishop with a message. The bishop in the dream (who looks exactly as the bishop in real life) does not register the message because he is too distracted by trivia and a continual interruptions by regular church members.

          This bishop and I were good friends and he became my personal physician. When we first met in his private church office a year and half earlier, he did not know me or anything of my background, but the first words out of his mouth was to tell me the dream that had brought him to our town and this particular ward. That surprised me wondrously, because he was speaking my language and I felt that we had immediately connected at a level of personal truth that few church members (let alone non-church members) ever achieve. I was able to introduce him to a dream work protocol that surprised and impressed him.

          But, alas, back to my dream about him, he behaved in real life just as the dream presented. That is, he was too distracted to register my message: that “the Lord does not recognize the two excommunications that I have experienced because they were done with ‘unrighteous dominion'”.

          Dallas, please feel free to respond to this comment with something more authentic than referring to scripture.

  7. Eve March 27, 2015 at 10:35 am - Reply

    It’s interesting to hear about members being disciplined for “apostasy.” I really enjoyed this interview. I did feel like maybe John was inserting himself into the dialogue a little bit too much?

  8. Kinglamoni March 27, 2015 at 10:41 am - Reply

    @kailey steed.
    Don’t think your just resigning doesn’t have an effect on the social feelings of those around you. A year ago an entire family in my ward quietly resigned. They are still friends to many with in the church. They have and continue to show members like me that there is happiness after the church. They show the people in the ward that an apostate is not a bad word. They highlight some of the feer tactics used with in the church. Every one has a part in this beautiful thing we call life.

    • EDiL13 March 29, 2015 at 2:11 am - Reply

      Thank you for this. It makes me feel a little better about taking the coward’s way out and resigning, instead of continuing to argue with them until they excommunicated me.

      I’m still married to Mormonism — it goes with my beloved TBM husband. I am also still in touch with many of our Mormon friends, and even though I’ve turned Unitarian Universalist since then, I can still more or less fit in with the Mormons, even to the point where some of them don’t realize that I’m no longer a member. I guess I’m religiously bicultural now…

      The bottom line is that I really have no idea what effect my influence is having on others (you know the one about the ripples from the pebble dropped in the pond). I like to hope that it’s positive, at least overall.

      Maybe you’re right. Maybe those of us who aren’t strong or brave enough to get ourselves excommunicated can also have an effect by just quietly walking away, especially if anyone is paying attention to the statistics.

  9. Greer March 27, 2015 at 10:48 am - Reply

    Way to stand up for the Truth. You are not alone in the struggle. Thousands are on their way out.

  10. K March 27, 2015 at 11:31 am - Reply

    Great interview. We left at the same time and are about the same age. Nice to relate to another family like ours. Thanks for speaking up for truth and good luck in the next few weeks! I am really surprised that after leaving almost a year ago, they are now coming after you. Awkward. :)

  11. square peg March 27, 2015 at 11:36 am - Reply

    Loved the interview! So grateful for those who are willing and able to stand up and be voices for the many who can’t or aren’t in positions to do the same. It saddens me that so many have to stay silent and live in fear of speaking their truth. I know there are many quiet people who are secretly hurting who need to have hope that someday maybe things can change from the cultural pressure cooker they currently feel trapped in. Thank you for your courage and your integrity.

  12. Jay March 27, 2015 at 11:41 am - Reply


    I respect you and your wife for sharing your experience. The courage you have both shown will help other people who have studied the church’s truth claims. And what a gift to your children! Truth and honesty.

  13. Jay March 27, 2015 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    I admire you and your wife for publicly expressing your views. In my opinion, you are helping many others who are afraid to express their views publicly. And what a gift to your children! Truth & Honesty.

    Two thumbs up!

  14. Dallas Jolley March 27, 2015 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    Dear Brother Calderwood: Last night I was reading a paper my daughter had just written for her Book of Mormon Class at BYU about Alma the Younger teaching and counseling his sons. That, like so many other accounts in the Book of Mormon encourage us to live righteously and draw near to our Father in Heaven. I was reading in the Doctrine and Covenants last night, and every time I read what the Lord has said to us makes me realize that with all of my education and experience reasoning and writing, I don’t know how I could get my mind in a place where I could imitate the mind and will of the Lord. Section 19 is a great example of the Savior pouring His heart out to us. As for the Book of Abraham, I don’t care whether it was given a translation or a revelation, the Spirit has confirmed to me that it is true. As for polygamy, this is a hard doctrine, but I am reminded what Clayton Christensen has reminded us that God’s ways are not our ways, and to understand His eternal perspective seems a bit out of our understanding in our mortal state. The key to our spiritual development is our faith, and faith requires us to be obedient so that we can always have His spirit to be with us. Brother Calderwood, put your life in order and the Spirit will help you over your spiritual trials. Christianity falls back to the old position that it is by grace ye are saved and that God loves us all and will bring all of us home, but Christ at times taught hard doctrine, and many walked no more with him. Where else shall be go to hear the words of eternal life? Terry Givens’ book, The Crucible of Doubt is a great book that may help. As for women in the church, they all receive priesthood authority to act in the callings they are given. I testify to you that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, that the Book of Mormon was abridged by Mormon the Prophet and that the Priesthood of God was restored to the earth by John the Baptist, Peter, James and John, and Elijah, Moses, Moroni, the Savior, and others who conversed and gave authority to Joseph Smith. No other religion on the face of the earth ties it all together like the Church of Jesus Christ. To this I testify to you.
    Sincerely, Brother Jolley, Mercer Island Ward, Bellevue South Stake of Zion.

    • Kinglamoni March 27, 2015 at 12:49 pm - Reply

      @brother jolly

      He did just what you ask him to do. He was obedient for many many years doing all the church asked of him. This shows tremendous faith on his part. He did not get a witness from the Holy Ghost except when he watched a Hollywood movie. He did his part, the church failed on theirs. Or did you listen to a different pod cast than what I listened to?
      sincerely king Lamoni, Fellow brother in Christ. Eugene Oregon stake of Zion.

    • Stefanie March 27, 2015 at 1:11 pm - Reply

      Just put your life in order and then the Spirit will give you the exact same answers as me! If you are getting a different answer, then by golly, your life is not in order. Period.

      • Monthofjune March 28, 2015 at 7:22 pm - Reply

        Stefanie – what a sad and unsupportive comment. From the podcast I gather that Caron has a loving and committed wife that he speaks very highly of, he has 4 beautiful children, he is a dentist. It sounds like he is respected and liked by many people. He has gone out of his way and has been unselfish enough to try and help those in need during the challenging time of a faith crises. He speaks very kindly of those that have been involved in a negative situation involving a potential excommunication, which I’m sure most people would find difficult to do. He is highly concerned about how this will affect his parents, much more than his own self. He sounds like a loving, caring and happy person.

        In my opinion it sounds Carson’s life is very much in order.

        • Sue March 29, 2015 at 1:30 am - Reply

          I think that Stefanie was really saying the opposite.

      • Lightworker March 28, 2015 at 9:49 pm - Reply

        Stefanie: There are perhaps only about 2 million TBMs remaining. 70% are not active/don’t care/don’t believe anymore/others are there for social reasons/I am faking for family reasons. You need to keep praying to God and Jesus to lead you to the truth if your heart so desires.

        God blesses.

      • Dallas Jolley March 29, 2015 at 2:03 pm - Reply

        It is important to be willing to submit to the Father’e will or we won’t make it. Abraham commanded to sacrifice his son Isaac is a difficult situation which is hard to understand. God’s ways are not always our ways, and our sensibilities may not line up with his. Political correctness is an example of how Satan prevents the discussion of sin and as such sins are accepted as norms. Getting in tune with the Spirit also entails being open to not politically correct answers. Think about it. As I said, those who doubt the Book of Mormon as being scripture don’t think about how it brings us closer to Christ. That is its purpose. It accomplishes that, but if you get out in the weeds, we don’t even read to see if it is inspired. I dismiss arguments against the Book of Mormon because, by your fruits ye shall know them. The Book of Mormon has the fruits.

        • Lightworker March 30, 2015 at 5:23 am - Reply

          If your beliefs are confined to what is in the Book of Mormon we would hardly have any dispute about what is the Gospel. The LDS church has Masonic temples and other damaging beliefs hence 70 % of the membership is not active and perhaps about 15% TBM. It is for political reasons that they claim a membership of 15 million which includes many who are dead.

          • Richie April 26, 2015 at 9:11 pm

            While there is a lot that are inactive, I doubt that it is as high as 70%. The fact that stakes are being created and temples are being built is evidence of continued growth in our day.

          • Lightworker April 27, 2015 at 7:42 am

            The building of new temples is to keep the “faithful” believing we are growing everywhere and to keep them paying up and their families locked down as much as possible. God will not not be mocked by this charade of monuments while the poor go without shoes to pay up.

        • Federico April 3, 2015 at 10:19 am - Reply

          Most of the fruit in the Book of Mormon are fabricated by Joe Smith and friends. It is like the foundation Jesus talks about, re the house that is built on sand.
          Now that the flood of all kinds of reliable knowledge are available, “the fall of that house [BOM] is great.”
          Even as the LDS church has room for drifters and fanatics, they should also make room for those who want to enrich and purify this church. Instead of excommunicating the best and the brightest Members. The church is still trying to cover up too much of its own weaknesses.

    • Mark March 27, 2015 at 2:24 pm - Reply

      Dallas, did you listen to the podcast? Don’t you think he’s heard everything you wrote thousands of times before? Its a little insulting to offer solutions when you don’t know what the problem is.

    • Anonymous March 27, 2015 at 3:19 pm - Reply

      Typical TBM response from someone who hasn’t dug into the issues that Carson, and thousands of other members, have serious doubts and issues withub Mormonism… Very disingenuous to ask “Brother Calderwood to put his life in order”….

      • Gary March 27, 2015 at 11:25 pm - Reply

        From Brother Dallas Jolley’s own website (Bankruptcy Attorney):

        “Unfortunately, there are many myths about bankruptcy that need to be exposed for what they are, just myths.”

        “…myths about bankruptcy have arisen mainly because of misunderstandings, incorrect reporting by news commentators, and incorrect statements made by so-called experts….”

        He then proceeds to expose 10 common myths about bankruptcy.

        I’m tempted to bear testimony that what he calls myths are actually true, and urge him to get his financial life in order and to stop deceiving people on his website. But that would be completely out of line and rude (especially since I haven’t researched his myths to find out if indeed he’s correct)

        • Dallas Jolley March 29, 2015 at 2:25 pm - Reply

          Thank you Gary for saying that the myths I state are not myths at all, when they are exactly that, myths. Bankruptcy is based on principles of justice and mercy. I think the funniest thing is when people who are bankrupt ask whether bankruptcy will ruin their credit.

          • Gary March 30, 2015 at 3:25 pm

            Dallas – So you were offended by the arrogance of my comments? Do you think I have no right or authority to correct you regarding bankruptcy law? You’re right! Now you know how Carson must feel about your comments toward him!

            The fact that you completely missed the irony is very telling. Your reply made my point perfectly (even though you’re undoubtedly at a loss to see how)

            Maybe you’ll understand a more direct approach: Carson is probably an expert in the myths of Mormonism in the same way you consider yourself an expert in the myths of bankruptcy. Indeed he could legitimately say:

            “Unfortunately, there are many myths about MORMONISM that need to be exposed for just what they are, just myths”

            For you to tell him to get his spiritual life in order and call him to repentance is just as arrogant and out of line as me telling you that you’re wrong about your list of bankruptcy myths and that you’re leading people astray with bad financial information. Do you get it now? (Hint: it’s NOT about bankruptcy)

            You may be an expert in bankruptcy law, but that knowledge does not carry over into other areas. You assume a posture of superior knowledge of Mormonism and authority over Carson that you simply don’t have.

            Your directive to Carson to “put his life in order” is not out of love for him and his family, but rather it’s the typical TBM priesthood leader’s propensity to assert unrighteous dominion. It’s the epitome of arrogance.

            Do you know what the funniest thing about this is? Nearly everyone here will know precisely what I’m talking about and you will be one of the few still in the dark (despite your law degree).

    • jeff March 27, 2015 at 3:41 pm - Reply

      Such a normal, even protestant, response to deep concerns. Funny how i just heard a born – again Christian make identical points. No, not about the bom or boa. it was all about the Bible of course but the points we’re identical. Faith, I feel it, we need it, we just hang on no matter how weird the belief, God’s ways are higher, we’ll be blessed for our simple belief, etc. Yet, using his “Faith” he has come to a completely different place. I have a lot more respect for honest inquiry and willingness to change than I have for the whole “Faith” routine.

    • J March 28, 2015 at 9:35 am - Reply


      Here is how I read the heart of your testimony:

      “[My religious authorities taught me] the key to our spiritual development is our faith, and faith requires us to be obedient [to the God of my religious authorities] so that we can always have [the god of my religious authorities’] Spirit to be with us.

      If you were to recognize that your validating subjective experiences inside Mormonism are indistinguishable from those of hundreds of millions of Hindus, Muslims, and other Christian sects, you’d recognize how circular your reasoning is. You might also understand that genuine humility means breaking that circle and confronting the consequences. Perhaps then you’ll also discover another level of compassion – the kind that exists between people who have only each other to make their way through what may be their one brief life together … and then won’t feel comfortable about giving such testimonies.

      Best wishes


    • Lewis McCorvey March 28, 2015 at 5:40 pm - Reply

      I joined back in 1975 at age 17 and served a mission at age 19 . Was told by Elder Packer before my mission to stay clear of anti Mormon info and the Tanners , i was obedient and did what i was told till 2011 and found the Elder Delbert Stapley letter to Gov George Romney back in 1964 and from that point in Sep it was more and more . I wasn’t ever intending to leave the church . But the overwhelming facts i count not just sweep them underneath the rug. John 16 tells it like no other religion , Jesus never left us alone , nor did he need a boy like Joseph Smith to restore it and restore it like Smith did , which was nothing Christ like at all . All i did was do what others do, make themselves feel it is true to the point they think they have truth and facts , but nothing but a feeling .

    • Lewis McCorvey March 28, 2015 at 5:49 pm - Reply

      Joseph had many versions of his vision, and not one single witness to it . Book Of Mormon, no maps no proof, in fact my 1830 copy and my 1977 missionary edition are not alike , kinda strange since it came from the plates , should be 100 % alike , 4000 errors , major ones that raise the eyebrows , and damper that warm feeling in ones chest . I believed Joseph when he said ” I can only find 1 wife ” not 7. turns out he was lying , and the church writes a nice essay saying he did have 33 wives, i would also have liked to hear the church say he lied . Then how could they ? Only true church ? not even close .

    • johnny bocchetti April 28, 2015 at 10:20 am - Reply

      Sorry but your a perfect example of a person who has been brainwashed by fictional accounts all around. If you want to continue spilling your brain with such utter nonsense go right ahead. The Book of Mormon is a work of fiction that Smith lifted along with the Book of Abraham, Mormonism is a sole corporation and does not even have members. BYU 77

  15. susie March 27, 2015 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    How is the church demonizing doubters if they allowed Carson to hold a lot of callings while he was open about his doubts? He isn’t a doubter any more. He doesn’t believe, right? So he says? The point of excommunication is to say “you aren’t on the right path spiritually” so the church leaders are following what it says in the doctrine and covenants. This is sad only because it will be sad for your parents but this part of being a member of a church.

  16. Mensch March 27, 2015 at 2:33 pm - Reply

    Can you link to the exit blog post (or Facebook link) referenced in the interview? Thanks.

  17. Donna March 27, 2015 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    Another Mormon excommunicated for telling the truth. When will the carnage end?

  18. David Burrows March 27, 2015 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    Carson, I listened to your interview this morning. Thanks for standing up for others and trying to create a safe space within Mormonism for doubters and nonbelievers that still want to fellowship, serve, and love one another. I especially appreciated that some of your fellow ward/stake members made an effort to help your persecutors see through the fear and understand the good that you enable. It makes me hopeful for a future where the LDS community can mature and thereby welcome all who would help lift others. We just need more stories like yours!

  19. Chris March 27, 2015 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    Dear Dallas Jolley,

    Have you ever thought maybe you should examine your “faith”? If your faith allows you to allow other people to interpret God for you and do things that are ethically questionable, polygamy, polyandry, translating an Egyptian funeral document into the Book of Abraham, maybe you would be wise to think about this faith you have and if it is really just blind obedience to something you don’t want to give serious thought about. Blind obedience to presumed authority has allowed societies to perpetuate some of the most atrocious acts in history. Obedience in of itself is hardly admirable. If you never bother to question the reasons you are being obedient or question the authority you are being obedient to, you haven’t done your homework as a mature and responsible adult. You are just doing some other’s will and following unexamined rules. If you think that will get you into the glorious kingdom of God, then you must think God loves a community of unthinking, immature fools. Your Holy Ghost speaks to you and you know the truth? Amazing how you could do that for every soul upon the earth. One would almost think you are God himself, even though you claim you cannot fully know God through experience or, that God’s ways are not our ways. Apparently you do think you know God and his ways, apparently you know him so well you know what he wants for every person. And you, Dallas Jolley, know, that if Brother Claderwood will just have faith and be obedient, all his spiritual problems will go away. May I address you now as God? Dallas Jolley? For you obviously know what God’s children should all do and how they should go about it, therefore, I would say you must think you are the equivalent of God’s mind. I would believe that such a sanctimonious and self-righteous stance as you take as a mere mortal for knowing sooo much about God and what he wants and what he wills would be the very thing that would put questions in a thinking person’s mind as to the validity of such absolutist, all knowing, self-glorious statements. Dallas Jolley says he can never know the whole of God’s will and mind, but he knows so much of his will and mind as to be able to tell every other soul on earth, including Brother Calderwood, what they should do and how they should believe and what faith they should have to gain the everlasting glory of God. Huh! You are an amazing mortal, God Dallas.

    • Frank March 27, 2015 at 7:28 pm - Reply

      Dallas Jolley manages, on many, perhaps most podcasts of this nature, to give a TBM response to every question. He has all the answers [in reality he has none!!] but his self-righteousness overcomes any ability to realize that. I wonder what on earth he is going to do as constant future truths and reality about the church finally overwhelms and overtakes the lies and cover-ups.

    • J March 31, 2015 at 12:15 pm - Reply

      Dallas didn’t deserve that. Don’t be vitriolic. He’s probably a good man trying to help.

    • Federico April 3, 2015 at 10:30 am - Reply

      I think the Book of Abraham situation was a truly divine expose of Joseph Smiths lifestyle and desires. A life of conning people in so many ways.
      It is a demonstration of the fact that he had no abilities to translate Egyptian,
      and that he never hesitated to fake it at every turn. He was interested mainly in power over others in almost every form. The opposite of a “Christ.”
      And as we well know, he was exposed more than once about his made up “scriptures.”

  20. Bradley March 27, 2015 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    The inconsistent treatment of dissent points to a leadership gap at the top. Stake presidents have no guidance on how to deal with rational, truthful doubters. You should encourage your SP to raise this “lack of guidance” issue with regional (and higher) leadership since leaving it up to stake autonomy is creating a PR mess for the church and squandering real opportunities for growth.

  21. J. Reuben Clerk March 27, 2015 at 6:11 pm - Reply


    As a lawyer, one thing that I believe is manifestly unfair about the church discipline process is that, while Handbook 1 says the accused can bring the witnesses and evidence he or she wants, the accused may lack sufficient notice beforehand of the details of the accusations. This creates a problem because the accused may not bring the right evidence or the right witnesses.

    I recommend explaining to your stake president that, in order for you to be able to bring the appropriate witnesses and evidence for your defense, you need to know (1) the charge/accusation that the council will bring against you and any applicable definition of the charge (2) the evidence that the council intends to rely upon to support that accusation, and (3) how that evidence supports the accusation. For example, if you’re being accused of apostasy, which definition or definitions of apostasy from Handbook 1 will the council use? What actions of yours will the council consider relevant to those definitions? How do those actions meet those definitions? (For instance, was your exit a letter a problem? If so, which portions? How do those portions meet the definitions of Handbook 1?)

    Explain to the stake president that, in order to have a fair hearing, you need this information well in advance of the council, so that you can gather evidence and witnesses and be fully prepared for the council. Otherwise, you risk presenting witnesses and/or evidence that is not germane to the council’s decision. At best, this will waste both your and the council’s time. At worst, it will compromise the integrity of the council’s decision because, without having sufficient notice, you were unable to present (and the council was unable to hear) a complete presentation of all the relevant evidence.

    I believe that you can maximize the impact of your participation in this process by, in the interest of fairness and the integrity of the process, requesting sufficient notice. If they refuse, they’ll look horrible and expose the process as a kangaroo court. If they agree, they will set a precedent with respect to how they are applying Handbook 1, which may benefit those accused in the future.

    These are just some thoughts that have arisen as I’ve observed the flaws in Kate’s and John’s councils. You don’t owe anything to anyone, so feel free to disregard some or all of my advice. :)

    I wish you and yours all the best through what is sure to be a difficult process.

  22. J. Reuben Clerk March 27, 2015 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    Whether with Carson, Kirk Van Allen, Kate Kelly, or John Dehlin, bringing church discipline for apostasy only serves to expose far more members to difficult historical and doctrinal issues.

    I doubt I would have ever learned about these difficult historical and doctrinal issues without the Salt Lake Tribune article on the disciplinary council threats from John’s and Kate’s stake presidents.

    Less than a year after reading that article, I’ve listened to hundreds of hours of podcasts (e.g., Mormon Stories, Mormon Expression, Infants on Thrones, and My Book of Mormon), read Rough Stone Rolling twice, read Mormon Enigma, and am reading In Sacred Loneliness and Mormonism and the Magic World View.

    In his efforts to “protect” the members of his stake, John’s stake president initiated my faith crisis/transition (and probably those of many others). His stake president really should have thought things through. Oh well.

    • skierdude March 28, 2015 at 10:05 am - Reply

      I hope that this great interview will remind people to not “quietly resign” but rather force the church to take action and kick people out. It will only take a few more years of that mentality before they finally realize that “disciplinary councils” are ultimately going to erode the membership and certainly not invite more people to join LDS Inc.

    • Carson Calderwood March 28, 2015 at 11:26 am - Reply

      Thanks, that is good. I’ll definitely do some of that.

  23. Joyce Warner March 27, 2015 at 8:38 pm - Reply

    Thank you John and Carson for standing for truth! Excellent podcast!

  24. Marilee March 28, 2015 at 2:13 am - Reply

    I know Carson personally and he’s incredible in so many ways. One of the things I respect most about (and, I feel has brought him under scrutiny from church leadership) is that he doesn’t ignore those that express doubts and have questions…he walks with them.

    Carson, you are a great example of the way “Mormons/Christians” should behave: inclusive, patient and without judgment.

    I really appreciate you sharing your story with me personally and here on Mormon Stories.

    You have a profound impact on many. That is seen as a threat within the church, but I don’t believe it is by accident. Perhaps this is your new “calling”.

    Voices like yours are needed; in and out of the church. But the decision of which, in or out, should be up to you.

  25. Janice March 28, 2015 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    I appreciate your willingness to share your experiences both in your search for spiritual truth as well as the ramifications in your life for exposing “hidden facts” that the Church has rewritten and wants to pretend do not exist though recorded in numerous historical accounts. It is not easy to “sell” a product that has proven intrinsic flaws. As you tell your story what I heard is that you earnestly tried within your marriage for years and with other Church members to somehow soften the blow and smooth the pain that is inevitable when “truth” outshines calculated deceit and the soul realizes its violation. That simply shows you are a man of integrity with a true love for your fellow man. I also felt it was a cathardic exchange for both you and John.
    I am not convinced however that subjecting yourself to the Church proceeding of possible excommunication which would label you an apostate enhances your ability to share your message from a place of strength. I think the “Church” in moving so quickly with “Courts of Love” is its attempt to silence by defamation (apostate label) anyone who speaks the truth. Thereby giving the apperance to the uninformed or easily manipulated that it is “You” who has lost your way. The Church as it stands today cannot exist if questions can be asked or doubters can speak their minds with freedom within its ranks. Its very life depends on deception and absolute obedience by its membership with the threat of silence, violent death and damnation. I mean that is intense!
    How fortunate that you and Marisa are able to transition together and how blessed that your beautiful little family have you as parents to guide and teach them.

  26. tropical animal March 28, 2015 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    Dear Carson,

    Thanks for sharing your story. I relate to everything in your story. Like John Dehlin, you are the kind of person the church should go to great effort to keep in the church.

    It would seem the church would see how counter-productive it is to e eliminate “the best and the brightest” because of non-conforming beliefs. At the same time, the church is keeping smart people out.

    It seems that conformance is all-important, with love taking a back seat. Not a good idea to replace love with “the manual.” Love is truth and doesn’t need to be proven. There should be only one question: Do you believe in love?

    I like John Dehlin’s idea of forming a face to face community.

    Looking at the origins of religions, including the Mormon “seer stone” religion, it seems the need for humans to stop believing in imaginary beings has never been more compelling.

  27. Koa March 28, 2015 at 3:05 pm - Reply

    Interesting interview. Is there a phenomenon where you break up with somebody but can’t leave them alone? In fact, you even go to the extreme where you think you can help the other person when they don’t want your help, or your advice.

    Why not just leave, and leave the organization alone? Thousands do this every year and never look back.

    • jay March 28, 2015 at 9:45 pm - Reply

      I’ve had more mormons knock on my door to talk about religion than ex-mormons.

    • Anon March 29, 2015 at 10:48 pm - Reply

      Many of those leaving have charity for their family & friends who are still being deceived & taken advantage of by the Church, and thus try to wake them up too. They have found the real truth and just want to share it with others, to see who might have ears to hear.

      It’s like when you realize you’re on the Titanic you want to try to alert as many as possible to the problems & save them.

      I find it interesting that the LDS & FLDS seem so full of fear to talk about religion with anyone from the ‘outside’ or anyone with ‘doubts, questions, or unfamiliar knowledge of Church history. While on the other hand, most of my many relatives & friends in any many other different religions are very open & willing & eager to talk to ‘outsiders’, and compare beliefs and listen, discuss & reason together. But not most LDS or FLDS. What is this fear that is taught by these churches?

      • Koa March 29, 2015 at 11:50 pm - Reply


        If someone wants to be a vocal missionary against any church, that’s fine.

        However, why be surprised when the person gets booted from the club if they don’t leave on their own?

      • Dallas Jolley April 7, 2015 at 9:12 am - Reply

        Latter-day Saints are not all super intellectual but they have faith and they have seen miracles because of their faith. Priesthood blessings that result in a miracle as is inspiration received while serving others for the others’ sake is common among faithful Latter-day Saints. A recent convert said she no long felt like a spectator when she attended her ward because everyone is involved in helping others. Those with faith don’t expect to gain physical knowledge of Christ or the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon or Book of Moses or of Abraham because they realize that God would not give us things that are provable by physical evidence because then there would be no need for faith. Call us foolish, but faith always proceeds a miracle, for God can do no work where there is no faith, for they reject Him. Dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith. Ether 12:6. “O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.” 2 Nephi 9:28 If you have a Book of Mormon, read 2 Nephi Chapter 9. Think about what you read, ponder it in your heart, and pray about it. Go back, read it again and consider the Lord’s counsel, and pray about it again.

        • Eugene Kovalenko April 23, 2015 at 2:37 pm - Reply

          Dallas Jolley, what is your relationship to Clifton? Does he know about these comments of yours? If so, what does he say and do you listen to him?

    • Carson Calderwood March 29, 2015 at 10:49 pm - Reply

      Koa, its easy. Are you more likely to help your friend down the street when they are having a problem or a complete stranger next door? I see people hurting in a way that I hurt for years. They are people I love and hurting in a way that resonates with me. Of course I’m going to reach out and help them.

      Why would you recommend walking away is the more appropriate question?

      • Koa March 29, 2015 at 11:22 pm - Reply

        Yikes, I didn’t expect you to read or respond to my drivel, but thanks for doing so. By the way, you look exactly like my best friend from college.

        How does leaving any organization impact your ability to help a friend down the street?
        How does leaving any organization impact your ability to help a complete stranger next door?

        I’m not suggesting you walk away from anyone in need.

        • Carson March 30, 2015 at 8:50 am - Reply

          Koa, thanks for your comments. You may not realize it but you are suggesting I walk away from people in need when you say, “Why not just leave, and leave the organization alone?” Helping people realize this is what I’m trying to do in addition to helping those in need. If I leave the organization alone I’m leaving the source of the problem alone and not helping those in need. At least that’s the way I see it.

          • Koa March 30, 2015 at 12:30 pm

            Fair enough.

            However, I don’t see how ones religious affiliation has any impact whatsoever on helping others.

            If I lived in Washington, I would take my family to your dentistry practice. Maybe we can just make the trek every year to the Seattle area.

          • Lightworker March 30, 2015 at 1:05 pm

            Koa, What is your intention ?

        • David March 30, 2015 at 9:09 am - Reply

          Carson is focused on helping families/couples — where one is a believer and the other a doubter — see that there is a way forward, together.

          When the church uses excommunication to push someone like him out, there is a cultural stigma (I believe someone used the word “defamation” above). Because of that wedge, believers are much less likely to consider his invitation to love, respect, and reason together with doubters.

          So while Carson may not walk away from anyone in need, his ability to help is negatively impacted.

          • Koa April 1, 2015 at 11:29 am

            If someone requires being a particular religion as requisite to friendship, I would find other friends.

          • Koa April 1, 2015 at 8:15 pm


            For families facing significant disagreements regarding finances, religion, or fidelity, they are probably better off seeking a licensed psychologist than a dentist.

            People like John Dehlin dedicate years of study to optimally address these issues.

            People like Carson dedicate years of study to help maintain a healthy smile. They are vastly different fields.

          • Staci Carriere April 6, 2015 at 3:01 pm


            Carson has helped me. By hearing about shared experiences, I realize I am not alone in my pain or my struggles. It has nothing to do with his profession and everything to do with his willingness to share his story, be a friend to those who are in the same situation he is in, and be a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on. It’s very important to people like me and I’m grateful he’s brave enough to do it. :)

    • Anna April 6, 2015 at 7:34 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much for sharing your story, Carson. There are still so many of us that struggle and feel hurt/betrayed by the Church, but aren’t ready/able to “come out”. Thank you for speaking up and fighting for the cause.

  28. Roberta March 28, 2015 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    The Cumorah Project estimates that there are about 10,000 to 20,000 excommunications from the Mormon church per year. Of course that’s only an estimate because the only folks who have those numbers won’t disclose them. And I wouldn’t know how to differentiate between excommunications based on philosophical differences from those based on moral grounds.

    If only there were some place where people who choose to leave the church or who are forced out could self-report so this phenomenon could be studied.

  29. Susan March 28, 2015 at 9:58 pm - Reply

    I’m an adult convert to the LDS Church. I believe in the overall teachings of the Church and, as a Clinical Health Care worker, it made sense to me “logically”. There are things I don’t know and that I do not expect to know until the afterlife. Prophets are men and I can understand that errors may occur. I still believe. It’s called faith in my vocabulary. I believe in evolution to a degree (how long is a day in the Lord’s day). Man became man when the spirit of God entered his body. I have felt comfortable turning down callings. I have reported that I’m not very good at wearing my garments and still receive my Temple Recommend. I love people and give service, pray, do not have an addictive personality so the Word of Wisdom is not difficult for me. We don’t have God’s knowledge and I am okay with that. I am not pious enough to assume that I will go to the Celestial Kingdom but I hope to. I feel God has taught different groups of peoples of the world in ways that they can understand and that is how I rationalize the world’s different religions. So, many of the concerns expressed on this blog do not bother me. I have not had visions but if I need one, I will. Faith is believing without proof. I think the fact that I am a convert and previously being active in other Christian Churches has made me be more open to the gaps we have in the LDS doctrine because other churches I have attended had fewer answers!!! The Lord loves all of us. I guess I’m not a TBM and I have never lived in Utah (which would be a hard place for me to live, )working in the health care field and seeing the perfection of the human body and the inter-relationships of species and ecosystems just reinforces my belief in God. I feel that I am what you are feeling that want to be yet you feel uncomfortable with it and I don’t. I feel comfortable and accepted in the LDS church. I enjoyed your podcast and I feel bad that your inner conflicts have been such a struggle or made you feel guilty. I think being raised in a strict LDS household is actually a hindrance to having your own “ah-ha” moment. When you are a convert, it is a conscious decision rather than being raised with it and just expected to go along with it. God be with you for you are loved…

    • Federico April 7, 2015 at 10:09 pm - Reply

      Susan- just one thing!
      In the new testament is says, “faith is the evidence of things not seen……”
      It reads differently in the BOM because Joseph copied it incorrectly.
      Faith is not blind belief, real faith can be substantiated.

      • Richie April 26, 2015 at 9:07 pm - Reply

        Part of one’s faith can in fact be “blind”. We don’t have to a have a sure knowledge of everything to have faith in the whole. Its definitely a process.

  30. Jer March 28, 2015 at 10:41 pm - Reply


    Equating your experience with excommunication with Carson’s doesn’t make any sense to me. (i.e. Your comment about the inconsistency in excommunicating Carson versus you.) You’re a well known podcaster that has been very public about your criticisms of the LDS Church. In contrast, Carson doesn’t have a following, podcast, etc. I don’t think you can equate his potential excommunication with your excommunication. They are very different.

    • Carson Calderwood March 29, 2015 at 11:23 pm - Reply

      The similarity is that my SP thinks I’m doing to my stake what John’s thought he was doing to the country. Same thing, smaller scale.

  31. Koa March 29, 2015 at 1:48 am - Reply

    Carson and Marisa,

    I had a chance to read through your thoughtful letter of doubts and it is obvious you have a great family and relationship.

    We all go through struggles in life, but sometimes I don’t think a context is necessarily created until major crises occur (i.e., death of a child, cancer or serious illness, life changing accident). Hopefully you haven’t and won’t be part of these experiences.

    I know for me, things that might have appeared problematic are now trivial. For instance, your open letter mentions the “horror” of finding out women and men might not be equal within the organization. Further, there is mention of how underclothing was a frustration. Really?

    Please know I probably would have felt the same about similar types of issues five years ago. However, these problems were unfortunately overshadowed by some life changes problems. You have a great family, great career, and if parents can’t see this, then wish them well.

  32. Jer March 29, 2015 at 7:40 am - Reply


    I noticed in your exit letter that you recommend people go to “Rough Stone Rolling” or the “Letter to a CES Director” to learn more about the history of the LDS Church. While I highly recommend that every Mormon read “Rough Stone Rolling,” aren’t there more objective sources of LDS history that you could recommend people read before sending them to the “Letter to a CES Director?” Why not Dialogue? There are many excellent articles on Mormon history found in the pages of Dialogue. Or what about Leonard Arrington’s “The Mormon Experience?”

    • Carson Calderwood March 29, 2015 at 11:25 pm - Reply

      CES letter is great because its concentrated. How many issues of the amazing works in Dialogue would one have to read to get the same understanding of the problematic version of our history we get in church/seminary/institute? Its and efficiency effort that made us choose those works.

  33. Corbin March 30, 2015 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    Dear Carson,

    Thanks so much for doing the right thing.

    When you stand up for the truth, I feel like you are standing up for the rest of us.

    Well, except for Dallas Jolley, maybe.

  34. UndercoverBrother March 31, 2015 at 6:34 am - Reply


    You don’t know me, but we have a lot of friends in common in the Maple Valley Stake. I’ve been undercover attending non-believer for well over ten years here. It’ s nice to not feel alone out here. Your seemingly overnight transition must have come as such a shock to so many! I’m still in holding out on the inside, hoping that my rather obvious dismissal of Mormon cultural conventions will allow others to feel more comfortable expressing themselves as well.

    The hardest part for me right now is how close to home this is hitting. I always figured that this type of draconian action would be kept far away in UT. Yet here it is, in my stake, with people who I have served with and loved for years on the high council! I wonder, do they feel forced to take these actions because of direct input from SLC, or simply because of the big news events have made them feel that is what is expected?

    In any case, I have no idea what your supporters plan to do to show support, but I hope there will be some show of support. Just know that there are more of us out here than those who can show public support!

    Good luck!

    • Carson April 1, 2015 at 9:28 am - Reply

      UndercoverBrother, it always amazes me how many people are in the same boat (to one degree or another). Hopefully this becomes synergistic and the culture changes enough for us to be authentic and live the better lives that comes from living that way. I feel like I love more and serve more because I’m doing it for myself as myself. Thanks for sharing it is inspiring!

  35. Mr. Haas March 31, 2015 at 8:01 pm - Reply

    I just finished the interview and have to say it was one my favorites. I am confused on what the Church’s position is on this, I recently came out to my Branch President about my serious doubts, a week later I was given a new temple recommend- I was completely honest. I was even more upfront with the 1st Counselor in the Stake Presidency- we talked for over an hour, he too gave me a recommend. I got most of the questions wrong and everything is good for me. The 1st Counselor did tell me that he knew of a lot of folks in our stake in the upper Midwest who are having similar concerns- if only we could get together and support one another?

    • Carson April 1, 2015 at 9:24 am - Reply

      Mr. Haas, good to hear that you have such supportive leaders!

    • Robert Hodge April 1, 2015 at 9:33 am - Reply

      I bet you got one question right. That you are a full tithe payer.

  36. Robert Hodge April 1, 2015 at 9:30 am - Reply

    A very important interview. But I have one issue to raise. Is forcing an excommunication really shedding light, or is it something the Church wants in order to instill institutional fear? Mr. Carson was offered a chance to resign, but even if he permitted that, would there not be some kind of public announcement made?

    When all is said and done, removal, whether by excommunication or by voluntary resignation is all about protecting the faithful flock, and it’s either about removing the wolves, or it’s about separating the sheep from the goats.

    Having known about most of these historical issues for decades I elected to stay in the Church for years in part because of a keen recognition that I was certainly never a perfect vessel either. I attended Church as a youth in the face of some persecution from a stepmother. I was never afforded the opportunity to go on a mission as my family had so few resources that just 2 days after my high school graduation I was forced out and into the Military. Something that paradoxically ended up being of great value to me. After many years of struggle I stopped attending church because I was legitimately concerned that I might say something that would adversely affect someone else’s testimony. But eventually the historical issues and problems made it clear to me that in spite of my own mistakes, there were just too many scurrilous problems to allow me to remain and participate. So I recently elected to resign by calling in my Bishop, who was and still is, a long time friend, and giving him the requisite resignation letter. For me. that was the most honest approach. For others like John, forcing an excommunication might well serve them better. I am not a wolf, but from the perspective of the self-righteous I might very well be taken for a goat.

  37. Stephen April 1, 2015 at 10:09 am - Reply

    The church is making a huge mistake.

    I had a very similar mission experience from 2002-2004. I was always such a good kid but I was missing that spiritual witness, especially with regards to temple work (which kind of hits you like a ton of bricks). I figured I’d work super hard for two years and “earn” my testimony. On the way home, after two years of working 16 hour days we went to the temple and it just felt . . . weird.

    I continued to work hard to try and get that witness, but when you start to really confront your doubts and the historical record things tend to fall apart. At the time I was attending BYU and my only real “outlet” was the exmormon forum, which is (perhaps understandably) a negative and depressing place to be. I wallowed in that place for several years, feeling like I couldn’t really be myself.

    If I’d had access to these types of stories or mentors I would have found my place in the church. Sure, maybe it would have been as a non-believing “social” Mormon, a “less active,” or whatever, but this current policy of ostracizing and excommunicating can’t be good for the long term survival of the church.

  38. Adrie de Jong April 1, 2015 at 10:58 am - Reply

    I listened to the interview and will have to do it again, but I would like to react first on what’s on my mind now.

    Leaders of the church don’t have an excuse. Jesus and Joseph Smith have given them enough tools to check their own attitude if that is right or not. As a leader you have to study the scriptures and let yourself be filled with the Holy Ghost. How is it, that they can make these decisions so much based on fear for what other think and outer looks ?

    For instance: Soon it will be Easter. We will have a play on tv called ‘The Passion’, which takes place every year, in another town, with new singers and players. We watch it with millions here in Holland, which is much, because we only have 16 million people here. Everyone, christian and non-christian, are involved in the story: BECAUSE EVERYONE RECOGNISES PIECES IN IT OF THINGS GOING ON NOWADAYS !!!

    Leaders in the church of Jesus Christ should study the Easter Episode and ask themselves: which role do I play ? People attending the Church of Jesus Christ, should study the Easter Story and ask them selve: which side will I choose ?

    One time in the play Jesus will be brought forward and the people were given the chance to make the choice: Who should be free and who not ? Pilatus hoped they would choose Jesus, but a strange thing happened: the people rather had Barabas being freed than a man without guilt.

    What had happened ? When Jesus came forward the followers of Jesus were screaming for Jesus to be freed, but something nasty had been going on: gossip and negative talk about Jesus, pushing and forcing each other to scream ‘Barabas’. And soon the voices of those screaming ‘Jesus’ were not heard anymore !

    Listening to Carsons story: first was understood that he had helped people to stay in the church, and than suddenly comes a moment that this understanding is overruled and not heard anymore … only the gossip and negative words are being whispered and as a crowd everyone goes up in this thing without thinking, without empathy, without love, without the learned lesson from Jesus Christ … and another person is cast out because of gossip, lies and wrong attitude … Carson has to face excommunication … all the good things are forgotten.

    After Jesus was killed how many people might have wondered if they made the right choice ? Do they regret or are they too indifferent ? It’s already to late, the job was already done ! How can people live and look at themselves in the mirror and think they see a person that is fair and a follower of Jesus ?

    Another great lesson leaders could learn from Jesus and Joseph Smith is the story of how we choose to follow Jesus in the life at the beginning of time when we were in Heaven and a great meeting was held where we could choose between Jesus and Satan. Leaders should ask themselves: what kind of church do I want, one of Jesus or one of Satan ? On the fruits of their works they will be recognised. This story of this meeting is soooooo powerful !!!!! Given as shining gift to each member of the church to learn, know and understand the reason why we are on earth: to follow Jesus ? Or to follow Satan ?

    In the play ‘My Turn on Earth’ Caroll Lynn Pearson explains it in easy to understand language !

    To read the text of ‘I have a plan’:

    To listen to the beautiful song:
    https://datab.us/PfO6fYSLROs#My Turn on Earth: I Have a Plan

    Jesus wants us to learn and grow by choosing, while Satan wants us to walk into the right direction without any trouble or questioning, neither thinking. As a leader in Jesus Christ’s church, which one would you choose ? The attitude of Jesus, to trust that one will learn through choosing and experiencing and wanting to grow ? Or the attitude of Satan, that no-one would have a difficulty, all watching into one direction and obey mindlessly, and silence anyone whom might stirr up some thinking and learning ?

    The Church of Jesus Christ should be a safe place for choosing and learning, growing no matter where on the path one might be. Right now, with all these wrong decisions and excluding those who are learning and growing and silencing those who might dare to do the same, I believe Satan has found himself a nice place with actually the wrong name !

    Next I believe the church can’t undo what has been created in Heaven. I believe I should have been a mormon this life, and I was excluded for following and sharing Jesus Christ’s love, while with a less stern attitude I could have stayed in the church … and I know … Jesus would have given me that moment of time. Because He saw the greater picture, the plan behind my action and knew there was no evil in it. Even though I was cut out of church, the church leaders couldn’t break my promise in Heaven, my attitude has allways been to follow Jesus, I allways including my teachings from the church as Jesus would have loved me to understand them: the iron rod is not from bendless steel, it bows a little sometimes when I didn’t walk in line, but would sway me back on the right track if it was bend too much ! I would never be too far away from my Big Brother Jesus. It was in my plan in heaven to follow Jesus here on earth, my decisions could hurt me even though I was helping someone else. I could have done that easily within the bounderies of Jesus Christ’s church, but those wanting us all with our nose into one direction, without choices and actions, without learning, hurting and learning to understand, cut me out !

    Here you see in the church, not learning Christ’s lessons, leaders rather have a mob shouting the wrong thing and excluding beautiful people like John, Kelly and Carson, instead of learning, growing and understanding through experience and acting like Jesus Christ.

    Leaders should learn and grow. Follow Jesus and the church will be a safe place for those choosing and learning. The place will be a rich place with all the experiences and differences and especially to love each other for whom each one is on the road back to our Heavenly Parents … it will be the place that Jesus wanted us to live in !

    See all those things in the church that can be doubted as a blessing. It will be a wake up call for those following blind and want them to think and reconsider and make up their mind. It will teach them to choose what is really important, that the book is historically true ? Or the lessons in it to love one another and help each other through ? More important for a book to be historically true is to learn that material things don’t matter, but rather your spiritual point of view: Do you love like Jesus does ? Do you care like Him ? Do you see your brother and sister for what they are worth, or do you only see the sin ? Jesus wants us to understand how important each one of us is, not let them go, loose or get lost. Learn to see how precious each one is, is the thing Jesus wants us to learn the most ! In Heaven we have to live together, that is what we are practising here on earth. We can only live there together when we know each others worth ! Cherish each other as Jesus would do !

    No one can undo what was created in Heaven, neither churchleaders. They can take away our membership, but not our attitude and commitment. A membership is solely a vow taken, but our commitment to our Heavenly Parents is no outer thing, it is a thing of the heart that can’t be stealed or broken. And this, that lives in our heart, will guide us and direct us, we are never alone, Jesus is allways on our side ! Because this commitment, a vow taken in Heaven, can’t be undone here on earth !

    Adrie de Jong
    The Netherlands

  39. Stephen April 1, 2015 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    When I was on my mission a family from my home ward went “inactive.” The family of the bishop was telling people that they’d been asked to perform some calling but had refused. They made it sound like the classic “family gone astray,” a real cautionary tale.

    When I got home from my mission and was experiencing my own doubts I reached out to the family. Turns out they had an experience very similar to Carson’s. They had legitimate concerns about the history of the church, and were getting no where with the local leadership.

    My point is the “public” nature of John and Carson’s stories is absolutely essential. I don’t think the smear campaigns are necessarily mean spirited, but they are real and they change the way the average member sees you or thinks about you.

  40. Bill Reel April 1, 2015 at 8:06 pm - Reply

    I think while there is leader roulette and short straws, I see a big difference between expressing doubt and expressing disbelief. One assumes we have the monopoly on truth, the other recognizes truth is difficult to corner. One leaves room for further light and knowledge the other claims to know the conclusion. Strangely I discuss the same problems and issues and yet no one has asked me to be silent. John I consider both you and Carson friends but want readers to know some see a difference

    • Jay April 2, 2015 at 4:05 pm - Reply

      “I see a big difference between expressing doubt and expressing disbelief. One assumes we have the monopoly on truth, the other recognizes truth is difficult to corner. One leaves room for further light and knowledge the other claims to know the conclusion.”

      Doubt may precede disbelief. However, expressing disbelief doesn’t assume one has a monopoly on truth. Expressing disbelief about something only means the person has determined one thing not to be true, but it doesn’t mean they are asserting they know what is true.

      It didn’t take much effort for me to conclude mormonism is not true – just a few seconds of someone beginning to tell me about mormonism was enough. But, some people continue to look for more reasons why mormonism is obviously false. A person can come up with hundreds of reasons why mormonism is false.

      Recognizing that truth is hard to corner doesn’t mean you’re stuck forever thinking “well, maybe the sun does orbit the earth” or “maybe this time the hot stove won’t burn my hand.” You’ll be stuck in a morass if you can’t move beyond something obviously false. And, sadly, many do get stuck in the morass of mormonism. Good news here – not Carson and his family.

      • Adrie de Jong April 7, 2015 at 3:54 am - Reply

        Wise words spoken, Jay !

        It triggered the following insight from me:

        I believe truth shouldn’t be told, but truth will be recognised:

        Truth being told is some kind of force, forcing truth upon you, some kind of brainwashing. (Like in The Plan Satan would do.)

        Truth being recognised comes from an inner process, experience and finding value and meaning in it. (Like in The Plan Jesus promotes.)

        Truth is considered a personal thing. While about truth is said that it is true for all people, because truth is truth and all that is no truth is false.

        I think truth can only be truth when it is recognised. And truth is acknowledged and confirmed when by and after recognising it’s been hold on to, followed and build upon.

        I haven’t been on a mission, but worked a lot with them after schooltime. The missionaries taught me that we were looking for like-minded people, because they will recognise the truth.

        If truth shouldn’t come from the outside and being forced upon, than it should come from the insight and being recognised. It can’t be a process from top to down, it must be a growing insight from down to top. Now we know that people are no stern statues with ‘once an idea, allways that same idea’, but have a progressive mind, developping from insight to insight. And sometimes you have to get away from basic insights to learn to see it from another point of view and get a whole new meaning about the idea what you thought was true. This process takes time. That is why it is insane to cut people out from the church for having other opinions. In fact seeing things from different point of views is an enrichment for all people from the community. Because different views will be recognised and build upon and trigger more insights which will strengthen the faith and commitment of the people from the community. I believe Jesus wanted Him to have such a church. Of course it could trigger doubt and struggle and uncertainty, but doubt is just whirled up ground where a new seed can grow and that could feed the mind of others positively. Now by all these excommunications, trying to force a certain idea as truth upon the community, by cutting out new insights and growth, the church becomes a stern place with solid ground where new seeds can grow. It creates a place of brainwashed, emptyheaded people. This is what Top to Down does.

        I became a Mormon-member because I recognised the truth. The First Vision, Joseph Smith’s enthousiasm to build those things he believed. His eagerness to serve and create something good and I thank everyone from the past who gave him money or other support to have come so far as he did: building a church, building temples and building cities. His views and visions have enriched this world, because he brought a slightly different Christianity on earth and so brought new ideas that could trigger new views and so on.

        For some reasons some have developped themselves and found themselves some truths that they will recognise in the mormon church. While others look at it and see nothing that hits something inside. That’s oke ! Each will find their own like-minded people. For instance: when I was excommunicated I went searching for what the church had not given me: My Heavenly Mother and I have found Her. And I have found like-minded people ! Their truth is as important to me as the truth I found in mormonism.

        I don’t look for material things being signs of truth in the mormon church, like The Book of Mormon or Bible or other things. I look for mental development, right attitudes and how I should develop my behaviour to do the right thing. This development must come from inside and can’t be forced upon from above/the Top. Through insight and understanding a right attitude comes from the heart, intention and commitment, and this way this insight is a truth to live upon or after. Not solely as a rule, but a Joy to experience. The Joy gives energy and the results of right behaviour gives more joy and so more energy. And this thingy is very contagious and could flourish a whole community.

        The problem of the mormon church is that they left the beautiful Christianity Joseph Smith wanted to establish on earth, but rather followed the stern rules and selfishness from patriarchal ideas. We see all prophets go astray this way in selfish attitudes in Polygamy, or wanting material evidence for the Book of Mormon, or wanting to keep women imprisoned in false ideas about how she has to live and behave, not for the glory of God, but just to be a slave for the glory of man. That’s why those who recognise the truth of Jesus Christ are cut out of the church, so patriarchal ideas won’t get into danger.

        I assume you might have recognised this falsehood and considered it not the right place for you. Than you wonder why people keep finding faults in the church and hold on to that action. There is an unwritten truth called Common Sense or Healthy Mind, it is Cause and Consequence/Effect. Patriarchy is full of damaging lies. The more one is connected to loved ones in the church, the more they will warn those who suffer in the church. Next I believe we all have something to do on earth. Life is meant to be in balance. So if hurtfull attitudes rule the church, there will be people warning those suffering because of these hurtfull attitudes. And maybe the people won’t get it right away, but a plant may be seeded for the future and insight might come at the right time. I believe their will always be people trying to save their loved ones. It’s up to the Top to learn and see these false attitude and be the ones to warn, but since the top uses these false attitudes to brainwash the people, they play a game with the health of the people of the community. Those who are warning are needed because the top does not do their job right.

        So, some have a task to warn, others don’t, it’s all how it lives in your heart that you need to express that way or not. I guess I am somewhere in the middle: I am screaming at the leaders to change their damaging behaviour and stop hurting the followers from the church. Why ? First because I have some precious dear friends in the church ánd right beside first: I want Jesus back on His chair on top of His church and the leaders to stop following patriarchy, but start behaving Christlike ! Why do I think I have to do that ? Because I am already excommunicated I have nothing to loose ! As we see with John, Kelly and Carson: all get excommunicated because of stirring up questions. I know my dear friends can’t speak out ! Maybe they even won’t speak out or neither want me to speak out this way, but nevertheless: I will speak out, because I can do it without danger ! I will be their voice even at this moment they don’t think I am doing the right thing, but this is my truth in my heart and that is why I speak out ! I recognise truth in the church and instead of people living up to that truth I see people getting narrowminded and led away from this truth. A huge part has to do with the leaders following patriarchy instead of Jesus Christ. They need a wake up call and I am gratefull John Dehlin offers me a place on Mormon Stories where I can scream ! I do not hate the church or hate the leaders, but I hate to see them following a path that is dangerous and damaging and it is the love in my heart to ask them to get on the right track and follow Jesus !

        Wow, Jay, you triggered a lot, thank you for doing so ! I hope you have found a place where the truth in your heart jumps up with joy and I hope you found like minded people to follow and build up your truth. Actually I would like to know where you have found it right now ! Take care and cherish the love that is in your heart, I hope it will bring you good things !

        Adrie de Jong
        The Netherlands

  41. kerry April 2, 2015 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    Carson, I’ve listened to many of John’s pod-casts. You are by far the most articulate guest I’ve heard so far.

    • Carson Calderwood April 2, 2015 at 11:02 pm - Reply

      Kerry, I am left to conclude only one thing…you are my mom posting under the pseudonym of Kerry. :-)

      • Kerry April 6, 2015 at 9:15 am - Reply

        No I’m not your Mom. Like you I’m a dentist. I practice in Las Vegas.

    • Koa April 3, 2015 at 9:25 am - Reply

      That was probably true for about 5 days. Then Marisa was interviewed :)

  42. C April 2, 2015 at 4:53 pm - Reply

    Great episode! I really admire both John and Carson for trying to be the catalyst for a positive change, even though it is at their own expense. Thank you guys for standing against injustice.

    • lightworker April 3, 2015 at 7:02 am - Reply

      It may appear to be an expense but there is an immediate uplift of 10% of your net/gross income and the weeding out of phoney relationships and friends. You can now explore the world of possibilities and live the life you choose. Where you saw only black or white you ca now see in color. You are of Platos’s cave. God Blesses !!!

  43. Cassidy April 5, 2015 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    Thanks for your story. Is it bad that I wish all non believing mormons would resign so that next conference their numbers would be the true number hahaha! “We now have “5 million members” because it’s totally not 12 million like they say.
    Anyways, I am a RM girl, married in the temple with 3 kids. Been doubting for years, doubted my whole life really… Just wanted people to be proud of me so I lived the way I thought would make them proud.
    I finally told my family I don’t believe a year ago. My mom has been awful to me. Other family members are okay but always bring up the church and its soooo annoying.
    My spouse loves me no matter what which had been helpful (I think it helps with all the sexy undies I get to wear now) 😉
    But I just love and thrive off of websites like this and stories like yours. Thank you soooo much for sharing!

    • Koa April 6, 2015 at 5:28 pm - Reply

      Yesterday, an article in the Salt Lake Tribune cited a mormon leader indicating fewer people are leaving now than had in years past (doing better with retention).

      Regardless, you are probably correct about 5 million active mormon members. However, most religions don’t differentiate between active or inactive when discussing membership numbers.

  44. Gary in Oregon April 7, 2015 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    Dallas Jolley’s recent discourse on faith (received via email; not posted here yet) does not mention the preponderance of Priesthood blessings that have no discernible effect, or the preponderance of prayers of the faithful that go unanswered. If you had a computer that worked as reliably as faith and prayer, you would give up and throw it into a recycling dumpster. His claim that God will not provide scriptures that can be proven authentic … to force believers to exercise faith … is a lame, disingenuous whitewash of the clear, obvious and simple fact that the Book of Mormon is bad fiction, and the Book of Abraham is a bald-faced hoax (just like the Kinderhook plates that displayed JS’s true colors to the world). It makes sense to believe in things which are unseen which are TRUE. How much sense does it make to have faith in things which are unseen because they are known BS? The Calderwoods figured out that faith in BS is a bad investment and have moved on. Dallas will continue investing, and one day reach the same conclusion as the Calderwoods.

  45. Steve in Maine April 9, 2015 at 2:14 am - Reply

    Thanks for this brave, honest, informative, and gripping interview.

  46. Russell Johnson April 15, 2015 at 1:36 am - Reply

    It has been a long time since the long runs at Alta. Coincidentally, We are now both Seattle transplants. Thanks for sharing your faith narrative. It is good to know that you are still looking out for others. I always admired your empathy. I went through a very similar faith experience/struggle through my education and religious studies. I came out on the other side, my doubts and questions led to stronger faith in the Gospel, but I can see where your questions lead you.

    You’re still a person I’d love to cross paths with again. I wish you only the best.

  47. Upnorth Guy April 21, 2015 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    Carson, good luck on your journey.
    I left the church two years ago, and life has never been better. I served as Elders President four different times, bishopric and stake presidency. At 63 years of age I’d had enough.
    The interesting thing to me is that members believe the lies the church tells, yet no one questions Joseph’s involvement in polygamy as a lie. There is a bookstore in Independence called Restoration Bookstore. They have available a two volume set of books called Joseph Smith fought Polygamy. There are two sides to the story, and these books point out clear indications that Joseph never practiced or taught polygamy, plural marriage or spiritual wifery. He also did not start eternal marriage as taught in Utah.
    If you take what Utah teaches about Joseph he becomes a fallen prophet because he does opposite what he taught.
    Good luck. I have family in Maple Valley that are tbm, hope they are treating you well.
    God bless you and your family.

  48. NateChambers April 27, 2015 at 7:01 am - Reply

    Well done though good and faithful servants as the saying goes! I wished I had the fortitude to have stayed in the beehive as I came to know the errors and lies of the church. I might have been able to influence others but maybe not. I thankful for people like you who stay and try to be influential and maintain your cultural heritage of Mormonism. You help shape and pioneer the path for others. i further appreciate your story. Thanks for going through this so others can see how things really are!

  49. StrangerinZion April 27, 2015 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    Thank you for being brave, I am yet to be this brave to stand for truth. Just know their guns are filled with blanks. In the end they don’t have any power.

  50. Local April 27, 2015 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    I do understand your questions because I have had my own. I was married in the temple to my love as well. Had our children blessed to us and I believed this is for time and eternity. My husband passed away while myself and children were small. While I had my own issues with God for taking a loving father, I turn to church for guidance but was inform I needed to divorce my husband in the temple so I could find a mate. This I was explained the only way I would be loved again and a must. I was threaten to be excommunicated as well but family stepped in to stop this non since. I still believe I am married for time an eternity and one day we will be together again, but really do I need to be forced to divorce the man I love and my children’s father in order to attend church? I felt not. Now my children do believe in God and know there father is always with them but we do not go to church because of the way we were treated. I believe in most of the church’s beliefs but have my own questions as to who the leader really is? Most of my family members do attend faithfully but I do not force my thoughts on them for I feel we all need to make choices by our own personally beliefs and reasons.

  51. B April 27, 2015 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    i don’t understand, if you don’t believe then just leave. No need to be vocal. We as members are not held prisoner and all know we have the choice to leave. This is a tough gig to live and believe and satan definitely gets to those that are wise and wealthy. Women are equal! I know what I have as a woman in the church is golden and that no man can do what I can. We are sacred and have our place just like heavenly mother.

  52. Jon Marshall April 27, 2015 at 9:54 pm - Reply


    I support you and your wife. You do what you believe and “Never Doubt your Doubts”, keep studying and learning the truth and supporting the groups that want the truth and want equality in the Church.

    God Bless and Happiness,

    Jon Marshall
    Logan, Utah

  53. Nancy May 3, 2015 at 1:19 am - Reply

    I just wanted to say thanks to both of you for sharing your stories. I wish you both well in your future endeavors

  54. […] to contribute in a positive way. I recommend all go and listen to the Mormon Stories episodes with Carson and Marissa, and also go read Carson’s blog at […]

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